Dear Church Family and Community,
I love this quote from pastor and author, Carey Nieuwhof: “Culture is invisible but determinative. You can’t see it, but it defines so much.” Churches are not just organizations, they are organisms. In doing life and ministry together, we are not simply a collection of people, but living and breathing members of one another, powered by the Holy Spirit. At HBIC, our culture has been built on a God-breathed and blessed DNA that has emerged in and through us over all these years.
Last year, we got a chance to experience our culture here at HBIC in so many different ways – in our worship services, small groups, ministries, special events, relationships, etc. One place I enjoyed seeing our culture emerge from the DNA within us was at our Celebration Meals. These great nights of blessing were filled with tasty food, lots of fun, and much laughter. They were also filled with stories, as many people shared what drew them to and what keeps them at HBIC, as well as why they love calling our church and community home.
The sharing at these meals helped remind all of us of our culture and our DNA. They also have helped to inspire where God is leading us next in our times of learning, growing, and doing life together. That’s why I am excited about our next sermon series, DNA: Living Out of Our Uniqueness and Into Our Call. It’s an opportunity for us to continue to reflect together as a community, and it was born out of my desire to see us intentionally focus on the things that make us who we are. I believe it will also serve as a challenge for us as we go forth in light of the work God has for us to do.
To prepare for this sermon series, please take some time to read and pray through our congregational values. These values describe the qualities that make us who we are at HBIC. During the first quarter of this year, I will be preaching through them to flesh out both our uniqueness as a church and community as well as our call to our God and our world. I am very excited about this series and the chance to reflect together on what makes us HBIC.
We will begin this Sunday by looking at our understanding of grace and our call to be a grace-based church. To prepare for this week’s sermon, please take time to read and pray through John 7:53-8:11. This passage has been dubbed as the woman caught in adultery, although I prefer what one writer calls it: the men caught in hypocrisy. As you read, ask and answer the following: What is God’s grace? How have you been graced by God? How have you been graced by others? How is God calling you to grace your world?
Also, in this week’s services, we will be hearing from Barb and Kevin Kelley about their recent ministry work overseas. I’m excited to hear how God led them, taught them, and used them in this work, and to see how God might be calling us to do the same.
Lastly, I wanted to point you all to our list of discipleship opportunities in this new year. I am grateful for all the people who serve and lead in our work of being disciples of Jesus, who make disciples. I am also excited for these opportunities and hope it invites you to get more plugged in at HBIC as well.
God bless and take care.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Ephesians 2:8-10)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104